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Fri, Jul 11, 2014

MTSU administrator offers sage advice

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MTSU administrator offers sage advice | Cornelia Willis, MTSU, Literature, Mama Said, Murfreesboro, Inside MTSU

Cornelia Wills (Photo submitted)

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -- Looking for a wisdom reboot for the New Year wrapped in some good old-fashioned charm?

Cornelia Wills, director of student success within MTSU’s University College, thinks she has just the solution through her new book, “Mama Said: A Word to the Wise Is Sufficient.”

“It is a whimsical, yet wisdom-filled approach through a collection of 101 of my mother’s favorite proverbial sayings, parables, quotes and expressions for successful everyday living,” Wills says. “When applied, it helps to effectively navigate life. It deals with ‘takers’ and other issues such as relationships, friendship, trust, morals, finances, time management, procrastination, honesty, and humbleness, just to name a few.”

At 114 pages, the book is a quick read that carries plenty of familiar sayings such as “Don’t cut off your nose to spite your face” and “Give ’em an inch and they’ll take a mile.” But it also carries some quainter sayings —“You’re just fattening frogs for snakes.” That probably won’t register with most Gen Y’ers and millennials without a quick Google search.

“Each saying is followed by an interpretation of its meaning based on the context in which it was said. It is written for readers of all ages,” Wills says. “Some of the sayings are serious and some are funny. Nevertheless, there is much wisdom in them all.”

Wills absorbed that wisdom growing up in rural Alabama under the watchful care of her late mother, Rosa Lee Wills, “who spoke these parables daily and many times throughout the day to empower us with wisdom or teach a lesson to her children or those around her. The words are as meaningful today as they were in past years.”

For the past three years, Wills has been developing tools to enhance the areas of student success and teaching students how to succeed — not only in college, but in life, she said. MTSU officially launched its “Quest for Student Success” initiative in October that outlines a variety of reforms aimed at helping more students earn their degrees.

Wills, who has doctorate in educational administration, feels she’s “always possessed the gift of encouragement,” but also came to realize “that helping others to be successful was an innate passion.” One of her “most humbling honors” was receiving a Mentor of the Year award several years ago for her efforts to retain at-risk students.

She credits her strong faith and family support with giving her the confidence to publish her book.

“We should remember that success is not always measured in dollars and cents. It goes much deeper. I want to pass on the wisdom from lessons learned that has helped me tremendously through the years to either avoid or successfully navigate some of the pitfalls of life. I am anxious to share this wisdom with others,” she said.

Copies can be obtained by calling toll free 1-866-909-2995 or by purchasing through the author’s online bookstore at, through and other online outlets by searching for the book’s title and author.

A limited number of autographed copies are available directly from Wills, who can be reached via email at or by calling 615-473-8924.

Tagged under  Cornelia Willis, Inside MTSU, Literature, Mama Said, MTSU, Murfreesboro

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